Tag Archives: logo design

Can luxury brands stand out?

My recent blog, “Does your logo stand out in a crowd?“, elicited a comment stating “Can a great logo that suggests refinement and sophistication stand out as well? “. Well I never thought that luxury brand logos don’t stand out so I did some on-line research. I went to the home pages of 12 luxury brands and captured their logos in the array you see below. I aligned them utilizing the “rule” that each sample must be the same height.

luxury logo array

Now the first thing that popped out to me was the almost universal dominance of the brand name in the logo. Even the Rolls and BMW names are there even though not too prominently. The second thing: Seven of the 12 logos used reversed type (light colored type on a darker background). Third thing: except for Prada and Chris Craft, they used traditional type faces, and none used a sans serif face. Fourth thing: half of the samples use capital letters exclusively in their names. And fifth, Except for the Tiffany logo with it’s “Tiffany blue” background, there’s not much color represented in luxury logos.

As far as a small-sized logo is concerned, I’d vote Brooks Brothers being the worst of the bunch because of the lack of color contrast, the very fine lines of the type swishes, and the strange icon on the left that loses any recognition as it shrinks in size. Rolls comes in second. The only thing that saves it is the familiar RR configuration.

Now to address “anon’s” question, can a logo for a luxury brand stand out?. I’d say there are three or four examples of dominant logos in the group above, led by Prada.

Prada has the advantage of a short name which inherently leads to a clean and bold look when the typeface used is bold. Tiffany stands out primarily because of their traditional and world-famous use of  the “Tiffany blue” background. The Broadmoor with the “small” A does not diminish no matter the size and is distinctive. Finally, the Chris Craft logo is distinctive and the type face imparts speed even in a much smaller size.

So in this small sample of luxury brand logos you have some that dominate and some that don’t. I’m not sure that this proves that the logo isn’t important, but I think it does state that for this class of brands there are many attributes more important than the logo that contribute to their success.

But if I may be so bold as to make a suggestion to luxury brands, get out of your “me-too” rut and dance to a differnt drummer if you want to differentiate the brand.

Does your logo stand out in a crowd?

Quite often you’ll have occasion to submit your logo to a medium that will group your logo with a myriad others as the images here demonstrate.

It’s a good way to determine just how well your logo stands out in relation to others, including your direct competitors. And two things become painfully evident to those with poorly designed logos.

logo array
NOTE PROPORTIONS OF LOGOS THAT STAND OUT

Continue reading Does your logo stand out in a crowd?

Branding an Internet service provider

Another BrandingWire case study – Keeping the Books

The BrandingWire, is a loose network of bloggers about brands and branding – we call ourselves “a posse of pundits” – who offer entrepreneurs and others a chance to ask for help concerning their brands. They provide a branding brief and allow us to comment, suggest, question, challenge, admonish, carp and pontificate concerning their branding needs. Actually, anyone can participate by going to BrandingWire website and commenting on the posted brief.

Today’s entrepreneur plans to open a bookkeeping service for e-retailers. His brief can be read in full at BrandingWire. My comments are listed here as well as on the BrandingWire site.

How is your business different from your competitors?

Like many – or should I say most – entrepreneurs, our bookkeeper friend has jumped the gun. He immediately wants a name, logo and tagline but has given no thought to how he will differentiate his business from his competition.

Ask yourself, is the market real?

I see no indication that our friend has determined whether there’s a real market for this type of service. He has not specified the geography of his business, but I assume he’s offering this service over the Internet to e-retailers no matter their location within the U.S.. Alternatively, he may be attempting to establish relationships with e-retailers he can service face-to-face locally.

I would be surprised if even the most dedicated e-commerce retailer would look to the web for accounting/bookkeeping help. Just like legal counsel, I suspect a trusted accountant is one with whom you want a personal and local relationship. (There were no web searches for “e-commerce accounting” or “e-commerce accountant” according to Word Tracker).

But let’s assume there is a market, and it’s one that a sharp person with a “crash course” education in bookkeeping can serve.

How do you differentiate that business?

You start by finding something potential clients want that competitors aren’t providing. At least competitors aren’t promoting and making their differentiating strategy. That’s why I suggested concentrating on the one thing that worries every entrepreneur: cash flow.

If your business can establish and promote systems and procedures that enable a small business to weather the storms of poor months, if you can offer solutions and advice that will help them become more financially stable, you will certainly differentiate your service from ordinary bookkeepers. If this is beyond your area of expertise, then find another way to make your service unique and valuable while also being different from your competitors. (Use the search box in the upper right for “differentiation” to see suggestions about this important subject.). But before using any differentiating concept in your promotions, be sure you can deliver.

So what about a name, logo and tagline?

They should evolve from the differentiation (positioning) strategy. The name is particularly important in this branding approach. It should be based on these criteria:

Allude to the differentiating concept without being descriptive or business-defining.
Be unique and fresh.
Be short.
Be memorable.

With the perfect name, a tagline shouldn’t be needed, but that’s seldom the case. The tagline, if needed, should also arise from the positioning strategy and should re-enforce the name.

A logo needn’t be a big deal for a small service provider. The name rendered in a unique but legible typeface, perhaps with some unique kerning or letter combinations, should do the trick. You may wish to “box” or reverse the type into a solid background as well. Choose a color you like and then use it consistently. If you decide on an icon to accompany the signature treatment, be sure it’s not just another accounting cliché because that’s the way your competitors think.

So, best of luck entering a business where the basic service is identical to you competitors, where most new business comes from referrals, and you’ll find many not believing they require the services you offer.

Martin Jelsema
303-242-5975

$25,000 logo junked.

This is a true story.

New OGC logoA new logo created by one of England’s top design studios for the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), a department of Briton’s Treasury. It was approved by execs and managers and then introduced with fanfare and brand new pens and mousepads to the employees. Only then had anyone thought to turn the new logo on its side. And then came the snickers, twitters and guffaws.

OOPS!The logo was supposed to signify a bold commitment to the body’s aim of “improving value for money by driving up standards and capability in procurement”.

Instead, it became an object of much embarrassment and chagrin.

Read the full story at the Tribune, UK, website.

This happened to me once.

The design I had recommended was a phoenix rising from the flames. But the bird’s head, with beak straight up and only the tops of its wings visible, was just too phallic. Luckily the client thought I was just joking because he saw the reference immediately.

That just goes to show you – check and check again. Get man-and-woman-on-the-street opinions. Review with the though, “what is wrong or inappropriate or just plain silly” with the design, the name, the tagline.

Martin Jelsema

303-242-5975


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